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A Complete Guide To Floating Shelves

28 March 2023

Floating shelves are a great way to add extra storage and display space to any room in your home. Not only do they look sleek and modern, but they also take up minimal wall space, making them the perfect choice for small apartments or tight spaces. Plus, installing floating shelves is an easy DIY project that anyone can tackle with just a few basic tools.

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about floating shelves – from what materials work best and how to measure for installation all the way through step-by-step instructions on how to install your own custom floating shelf unit. So grab your toolkit, and let's get started!

What Are Floating Shelves?

Floating shelves are essentially open-faced shelving units that don't require visible supports or frames. Instead, they appear to be "floating" on the wall due to a clever trick – the shelf is securely fastened onto metal brackets hidden behind it. This gives these shelves an elegant and eye-catching look, perfect for displaying decor items and other household knick-knacks.

Types Of Floating Shelves

Floating shelves come in various materials, styles and sizes, so you can choose one that fits your needs and budget. Whether you're looking for something sleek and modern or something more rustic and traditional – there is a floating shelf option out there for everyone.

Solid Wood Floating Shelves

Solid wood floating shelves are the classic choice for a timeless look. Sturdy and durable, they come in countless styles – including distressed, stained or varnished. Many feature grooves that can be used to display plants or store books and other items. Plus, they're easy to install and can last a lifetime.

Metal Floating Shelves

Metal floating shelves are perfect for a modern, industrial look. They come in a range of finishes – including brushed steel, copper and brass – and can be used to store items or as display pieces. Metal is also more affordable than wood and is often easier to install.

Glass Floating Shelves

For an airy feel, glass floating shelves are the way to go. They can be bought with or without frames and come in many shapes, sizes and styles. Glass shelves are best used for displaying items since they aren't very strong. Be aware that if you get glass shelves with metal frames, they will likely require more complex installation methods due to the extra weight of the frame.

Acrylic Floating Shelves

Acrylic floating shelves are a great budget-friendly option. They come in many sizes and shapes and look just like glass but are much stronger. These shelves are perfect for storing heavier items since they can handle more weight than glass. Acrylic shelves also don't require any specialized tools or hardware to install, making them the ideal choice for beginners.

How To Measure For Floating Shelves

Before you buy your floating shelves, it is important to measure the wall space you plan to install them on. This ensures that your shelves will fit properly and securely without any gaps. Start by measuring from the top of the wall down to where you want the bottom of your shelf to be – this should be at least 8 inches from the ground.

Then measure the shelf's width and ensure you have at least 6 inches of space on either side. Finally, if you plan to mount multiple shelves, measure the distance between each one – generally, it should be about 8-12 inches apart.

How To Install Floating Shelves

Now that you've chosen your desired floating shelf style and measured for installation let's get started!

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before you begin installing your floating shelves, gather the tools you will need. These include a drill or power driver, screws appropriate for your wall material (drywall screws are usually best), a level, and a pencil. You may also want to have a stud finder on hand if you plan to install the shelves into a drywall or sheetrock surface.

The type of screw you use will depend on the material of your wall; for drywall, use drywall screws that are at least 1 inch long. You'll need longer wood screws (2-3 inches) for wood panelling or other solid surfaces. Be sure to get the appropriate drill bit size for whatever type of screw you choose.

Once you've gathered all of your tools and supplies, it's time to begin measuring and marking off where you plan to install your shelves.

Step 2: Mark & Drill Pilot Holes

Using a pencil, measure and mark off the area where each shelf bracket will be installed. Use a level to ensure that all marks are even and straight. Then using your drill or power driver, drill slightly smaller pilot holes at each mark – this ensures that when you insert the screws, they won't split the wall material or strip too much in the process.

Once all pilot holes have been drilled, insert a screw into each one. When doing so, ensure that it is securely fastened into place without being too tight – this prevents damage to your walls from over-tightening the screws. Then check again with your level to ensure everything is even before continuing on to the next step.

Step 3: Install The Shelves

Now that all brackets are in place, it's time to hang your shelves! Place each shelf onto its respective bracket and then secure them in place by tightening up any screws as needed. Make sure that none of the shelves are crooked – and are adjusted until they fit snugly against the wall. Also, ensure not to over-tighten any screws, as this could damage your shelving unit and walls.

Finally, add any decorative elements such as bookshelves or baskets as desired before admiring your work! With just a few basic tools and supplies – plus some patience – anyone can install their own floating shelves in no time!

Benefits Of Floating Shelves

Floating shelves offer a wealth of benefits both aesthetically and functionally. Let's explore some of the most important advantages of this popular shelving style.


Floating shelves are incredibly versatile and can be used to store almost anything – books, collectibles, plants, photos and more. They also come in various styles and sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for your space.

Space Saving

Thanks to their lack of visible supports or hardware, floating shelves help create the illusion of more space in a room by taking up less visual real estate on the wall.

Easy Install

As mentioned before, installing floating shelves is easy! All you need is basic tools like a drill or power driver and some screws – no specialized hardware required. Plus, they take just minutes to install once all the necessary measurements have been taken.

Aesthetically Pleasing

Floating shelves are also a great way to add visual interest and style to any room. Their sleek, modern design is timeless and can easily be dressed up with decorative elements like books, plants, baskets or picture frames.

Cost Effective

Floating shelves are a great way to add storage and style without breaking the bank. They cost much less than custom-built shelving units while still providing excellent functionality.

Easy To Maintain

As a bonus, floating shelves are also incredibly easy to maintain. All you need is a damp cloth and some mild soap or cleaning solution – no sanding or refinishing required!

Increases Curb Value

Finally, installing floating shelves can also increase the overall value of your home. Their modern look and versatility make them an attractive asset that potential buyers may appreciate when deciding whether or not to purchase a property.

Our Recommendation: WSF1 Floating Shelves from Flexispot

We recommend Flexispot's WSF1 Floating Shelves for their sturdy construction, functional design, and affordable price. With a maximum weight capacity of 44 lbs and adjustable brackets to fit any space, these shelves are sure to provide all the storage you need without compromising style or quality. Plus, they come with mounting hardware, so installation is quick and easy!

Whether you're looking for extra storage in your home office or want a modern way to display photos and art pieces in your living room, the WSF1 Floating Shelves from Flexispot can help make any space look neat and organized – all while adding a unique touch of style.

Closing Thoughts

Floating shelves make an elegant and stylish addition to any home or office space. Not only are they easy to install, but their unique design helps create the illusion of more space in a room – plus, you can store almost anything on them! So if you're looking for an affordable yet effective way to organize your living or working space, then why not consider installing some floating shelves? You won't regret it!